When it comes to your wedding, something no one else can do for you is deciding on your seating chart and floorplan. Only you know which friend groups belong together, which relatives need to be kept separate and how you want those tables laid out. Not only that, but once you know about your seating chart, it’s time to figure out the rest of the room’s layout. So, let’s talk tables and floorplans!
Step 1: The bridal table
Deciding where you want the bridal table positioned is Step 1. As the couple of the evening, you are the centrepiece, the cherry on top, the crescendo of the event. And so all the other tables ought to be placed around you so everyone can see your lovely selves throughout the festivities.
Now, do you want the bridal table to one side of the room and the guest tables in front of you? Maybe your bridal table is a round table at the centre of the room with guests tables surrounding it. Depending on the number of guests you have may dictate the table you can have, not to mention the shape and dimensions of the room itself. Once you have an idea of what you’d like, speak to your venue manager about the details. Oh, and if you’re not sure what kind of bridal table you want, get some ideas on our blog post Choosing Your Bridal Table Layout.
Step 2: The guest tables
How many, what shape and where? Round tables versus rectangular tables create different atmospheres as well as dictating what kind of centrepieces and decor you can have. Of course, there are many centrepiece designs that work for any table shape and layout, but there are also some restrictions. For example, if you choose long tables, you can do long table runners with fabric and/or greenery and flowers. On the other hand, with round tables, single arrangements in the centre of the table with a few tealights is simple, elegant and suit the table shape.
When it comes to where you place the tables, one decision dictates the other, so choose the “where” based on priority, but generally the guests’ tables will be right by the bridal table.
Step 3: Dance floor
This is the thing that dictates the other the most. The dance floor can be somewhere off to the side or it can be in the middle of the room. If you want your dance and dancing to be a feature of the evening, then placing it in the centre of the room is a good choice. Some guests feel awkward sitting to the side of the room and are more likely to join the dancing if it’s closer to their table versus on the other side of the room.
On the other hand, having the dance floor off to the side gives a more intimate feel as your guests are seated closer to you instead of being separated by a dance floor.
Step 4: DJ
The DJ should be close to the dance floor, no questions asked. DJ’s will often gauge the atmosphere, response to music and volume of what they’re playing as they go and adjust as needed. Placing them near the dancefloor gives ample opportunity for this as well as allowing them to easily interact with the MC or coordinator to bring it down for speeches or other key moments.
Step 5: Gifts table
Gifts aren’t often a feature of the event and so they are usually placed somewhere off to the side but still near the entrance of the reception room. This allows guests to easily deposit their gift with the others upon entry rather than question where the gift should go and have to take it to their table. If space is limited, place it away from the door but in direct line of sight and near the guests’ tables. Again, so it’s easily seen and accessible but not a feature of the room.
Step 6: Cake table
This is something you do want to feature. You have chosen a gorgeous cake, cheese tower, doughnut wall or something, so let your guests see it! Place it somewhere central and easily accessible to everyone so they can admire it through the evening and watch as you cut it.
Step 7: Photobooths and extras
Guests will rarely travel outside of where the main action of the evening is unless it’s to the bathroom. When you book a photo booth you want people to enjoy using it. If you hide it away in a separate space that isn’t used people won’t realise it’s there and won’t utilise it. Talk about disappointing. Instead, put it somewhere that’s used as a thoroughfare – like on the way to the bathroom – or off to the side in the main room away from the DJ and dance floor. This gives people a sense of privacy without feeling like they’re missing the main action.
Step 8: Everything else
Whatever you have left that needs to fit in your reception room, ask yourself these two questions:
- Do I want to feature this thing or not?
- If not/if so, where can I put it that is most advantageous to its purpose?
This will help you decide the best location for anything from a kid’s corner (not featured but not far from watchful parents) to a loved one’s memorial (featured but not so central that it distracts from your celebration).
You got this, and don’t forget, your venue manager and coordinator will help you with this in the planning process.
Until next time!